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NASA Team Begins Testing of a New-Fangled Optic

It’s an age-old astronomical tr…

NASA Team Begins Testing of a New-Fangled Optic It’s an age-old astronomical tr…


NASA Team Begins Testing of a New-Fangled Optic

It’s an age-old astronomical truth: To resolve smaller and smaller physical details of distant celestial objects, scientists need larger and larger light-collecting mirrors. This challenge is not easily overcome given the high cost and impracticality of building and — in the case of space observatories — launching large-aperture telescopes.

However, a team of scientists and engineers at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, has begun testing a potentially more affordable alternative called the photon sieve. This new-fangled telescope optic could give scientists the resolution they need to see finer details still invisible with current observing tools – a jump in resolution that could help answer a 50-year-old question about the physical processes heating the sun’s million-degree corona.
Credit: NASA/Goddard/W. Hrybyk #nasagoddard #optics



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